Just north of the intersection of Sawtelle and Olympic, there's a quadrant of Los Angeles with so much outstanding food crammed into a relatively small space that it makes you wonder why the neighborhood planners responsible for it can't have a crack at other parts of town. Little Osaka, as that area of Sawtelle Boulevard is called, has always been a terrific food neighborhood: It's home to Kiriko, one of the best sushi restaurants in town; Balconi, one of the only shops in L.A. serving siphon coffee; and Asahi Ramen, one of the city's first ramen shops. But recently the neighborhood has gone into hyperdrive, with Tsujita's twin ramen palaces, Gottsui's okonomyaki shop and a great new soba place, Soba Sojibo. Yes, this is an actual walking neighborhood, and you can get superior sushi, oden, okonomiyaki, tsukemen and ramen without having to repark — or do more than cross the street. Sure, it would be more fun to food crawl in Tokyo's Roppongi or Shinagawa districts, but you don't have to shell out for a plane ticket to eat on Sawtelle. Now if only somebody would just install those noodle shop payment machines. Sawtelle Boulevard between Olympic and Santa Monica boulevards, Sawtelle. —Amy Scattergood

LA Weekly